The tourism sector in Qatar is growing rapidly and creating the potential for more job opportunities in the country, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) deputy general secretary Mamadou Diallo has said.
Diallo moderated a panel discussion on the future of work in the tourism sector in Qatar, held as part of the recent centenary celebrations of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) at Katara - the Culture Village under the theme 'The Future of Work in the State of Qatar'.
The panel discussion was attended by Ali al-Mohannadi from the Qatar National Tourism Council (QNTC); Salma Ahmed al-Hammadi from the legal department of Katara Hospitality; Mahmoud Qutub, executive director of the Workers' Welfare Department at the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC), and Anna Paolini, director of the Unesco office in Doha and Unesco representative in the Arab States of the Gulf and Yemen.
Diallo noted that the country has taken various key steps and initiatives to make the tourism industry flourish, such as the visa-free initiative for the citizens of many countries, the transit visa facility, hosting of various international sports events and conferences and promoting the culture and heritage of the country worldwide.
Al-Mohannadi said QNTC has always actively worked with its partners to promote tourism in the country, simultaneously working on various areas such as hosting international sports events, conferences and business meetings. Besides, the council is keen to develop sectors such as land, desert and marine tourism in addition to exploring the vast potential of the local culture and heritage.
"This required that we devise new types of visa options in co-operation with the authorities concerned. Initially, we have focused on opening 10 new markets to attract tourists from different countries such as the UK, US, China, India and others. In the next phase, we will focus on Scandinavian countries and the Australian market," he added.
Al-Mohannadi stressed that the tourism sector is promising and depends greatly on the human factor, creating more jobs in the market as an economically beneficial industry.
It also requires highly qualified staff able to adequately deal with visitors from different backgrounds and cultures. Accordingly, 137 tourist guides from 42 countries speaking various languages have been trained and qualified to promote the tourism potential of the country, and there is a need for more, he observed.
Al-Hammadi said the tourism industry is closely linked to the luxury services and hotel sectors and this also requires talented and qualified employees who should be trained and retained to work in the country as long as possible, given the adequate incentives provided to encourage them to continue. She said Katara Hospitality invests heavily in its employees with a big budget allocated to training them as this is considered a top priority for the company.
Qutub talked about the efforts of the SC to empower workers, maintain high health and safety standards at the workplace and enforce ethical and transparent standards for labour recruitment throughout all 2022 FIFA World FIFA Cup projects in collaboration with the companies and contractors involved at all levels. He reviewed the challenges encountered by the committee and how it was able to achieve success so far.
Paolini appreciated the efforts and successes of Qatar in promoting its tourist profile and potential, providing jobs for an increasing number of people in the field and diversifying the sources of income in the local economy.